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ERIC Number: ED508506
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2005
Pages: 126
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 26
ISBN: ISBN-1-8457-2385-6
The Impact of Different Modes of Assessment on Achievement and Progress in the Learning and Skills Sector. LSRC Research Report
Torrance, Harry; Colley, Helen; Garratt, Dean; Jarvis, Janis; Piper, Heather; Ecclestone, Kathryn; James, David
Learning and Skills Development Agency (NJ1)
This study was commissioned to investigate whether or not, and if so, how, use of different assessment methods makes a difference to learner achievement and progress in the learning and skills sector (LSS). This is the first comprehensive study of assessment procedures and practices employed across the full range of LSS contexts--school sixth forms, further education colleges, workplaces and adult learning environments. The study identified an enduring divide between post-16 academic and vocational tracks and the different methods of assessment employed in those tracks. The study also identified many anomalies of structure and practice across post-16 awards. Overall the study found that assessment methods "per se" do not directly affect learners' choice of award or likelihood of success, but the association of certain awards with methods which employ extensive writing (coursework, exam essays, etc) does. In a social and economic environment which supposedly privileges the consumer over the producer, consumer choice in assessment, coupled with the need for equality of consumer choice across the LSS, should be given more attention. A range of assessment methods could be made available for all awards, with the candidate choosing that combination of methods which most suits their learning style and maximises their chances of success. This report has five sections. Following an introduction, an overview of the development of assessment in the sector is provided in the next section to sketch out the social and political context in which debates about assessment in the LSS are located. A full understanding of the multi-faceted nature of assessment in the LSS and how different practices in different sub-sectors relate to one another--or not, as the case may be--warrants a preliminary discussion of this complexity in order to contextualise the findings set out in Section 4. The main body of the report (Section 4) then draws extensively on the case reports to present detailed evidence of the role of assessment in the LSS. This allows procedures and practices to be compared and contrasted across settings and sub-sectors. Finally, conclusions and recommendations are presented in Section 5. Appendices include: (1) Methodology and summary of case study data sources; (2) Theoretical model and research design of assessment in the learning and skills sector; (3) Examples of questionnaires; and (4) Summary of key elements of questionnaire data. (Contains 1 figure, 28 tables, and 15 footnotes.) [Funding for this paper was provided by the City & Guilds Awarding Body, with additional support from Ufi.]
Learning and Skills Development Agency. Available from: Learning and Skills Network. Regent Arcade House, 19-25 Argyll Street, London, W1F 7LS, UK. Tel: +44-845-071-0800; Fax: +44 20 7297 9001; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: Adult Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: Learning and Skills Development Agency, London (England). Learning and Skills Research Centre.
Authoring Institution: Learning and Skills Development Agency
Identifiers - Location: United Kingdom